10.0898 Z39.50 standard; NHA Principles

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 23:32:32 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 898.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: David Green <david@cni.org> (106)
Subject: CIMI / Z39.50 Press release

[2] From: David Green <david@cni.org> (30)
Subject: Announcement of NHA Principles

Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 18:33:00 -0400
From: David Green <david@cni.org>
Subject: CIMI / Z39.50 Press release

April 24, 1997


Following is a press release from the Consortium for the Computer
Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI)
<http://www.cimi.org/cimi/introduction.html>, announcing the participation
of five international organizations in its test of the Z39.50 standard for
data search and retrieval.

David Green



Five Key Organizations Will Test Z39.50 with CIMI

An overwhelming number of international organizations working with cultural
heritage information responded to CIMI's call for participation in its test
of the Z39.50 standard for data search and retrieval. As museums and
libraries throughout the world adopt this standard, cultural heritage
information-including text, audio, and video-now held in "islands of
information" will become uniformly available to anyone who has access to a
computer terminal.

CIMI (the Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information)
consists of 16 member organizations working cooperatively to solve problems
that restrict the electronic interchange of museum information. To create
truly easy interchange of information requires adopting standards, which is
why Z39.50 is such an important part of the effort to disseminate cultural
heritage information. This mature standard represents the culmination of
two decades of thinking and debate within libraries and museums about how
information retrieval can be carried out in a distributed environment, one
where people in different places using different systems can exchange
information at a deep and meaningful level. This standard has also been an
important factor in the effort to create digital libraries that can truly
mimic the capabilities that traditional libraries offer for finding

The strong response to CIMI's call for participation confirmed the pressing
need for CIMI's work on interoperability-enabling information to be
interchanged regardless of the systems used to store or retrieve the
information. CIMI's test will be carried out with participation from the
largest museum collections management vendor in North America, from several
groups involved in enormous cultural databanks throughout Europe, and from
a vitally important national museum project in Taiwan.

CIMI was able to choose 5 participants and 2 alternates to take part in the
CIMI Z39.50 Interoperability Testbed Project after painstaking review of
applications from 42 highly qualified organizations. The chosen groups will
work together with CIMI to develop an application of this international
standard for search and retrieval appropriate to cultural heritage
information. They will also receive training in the use of the standard and
CIMI's particular application. Finally, they will receive tools and
assistance in implementing the standard on information from their own local
systems. The test project is being carried out with support from the United
States National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The groups carrying out the test include:

Intermuse Willoughby Associates, Ltd., of Winnetka, Illinois-North
America's largest museum collections management vendor.

Databasix Information Systems-a Dutch producer and vendor of the
ADLIB library management system that just recently installed a collections
management system in six British museums and also works for the Royal
Belgian Institute for Art Heritage and RKD, the Dutch National Institute
for Documentation of Art.

Finsiel S.p.A.-the largest Italian provider of information
technology to the cultural heritage sector and a key participant in the
European Union's Aquarelle Project, the G7's Hypermuseum project, several
national information access projects (including data from the Uffizi
Gallery in Florence), and other Europe-
wide initiatives in information access.

Crossnet Systems Ltd. and Joanneum Research-a British system
developer and an Austrian museum research group that have worked with many
museums and libraries throughout Europe and who will apply the standards
test to information from national museums in Germany, Hungary, and Austria.

The Information Systems and Software Technology Group of the
Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for Research and
Technology-a Greek systems developer whose applications are used in the
management of vast amounts of data on Greek antiquities and who is also a
key participant in the Aquarelle project.

The alternates include:

Center for Excellence for Research in Computer Systems, National
Taiwan University-which is working on the National Taiwan
University Digital Library/Museum Project, a massive effort to digitize and
disseminate historical documents and artifacts on the cultural heritage of

Geac Computers Ltd.-a Canadian supplier of library automation
systems with over 1200 customers worldwide, including many museums and art
galleries, such as the Louvre and the Musee d'Art Moderne.

Blue Angel Technologies, a software company specializing in Z39.50
applications, will also be taking part in the project under separate
sponsorship in order to build a Java-based system that can work with Z39.50
and is optimized for CIMI.

Each of the participating groups indicated the strong need for CIMI's work
on applying a standard for ease of search and retrieval. "The availability
of cultural resources to the widest possible audience is a benefit to
society far beyond the mere access to the data," according to Willoughby's
Larry Mills-Gahl. He goes on to say that "Z39.50 is a another tool in the
quest to unlock the treasures to be found in museum data."

After an extensive government-funded search for the best way to make its
data available, the National Taiwan University chose CIMI because its
standards were seen to be those over the long term would give the
information the largest possible access worldwide. Databasix summed up its
feelings about the project by saying that information providers must
realize how important it is that data be easy to access and exchange,
because today no organization can be left "living in an isolated world."

Participants will attend an Interoperability Training Workshop in
Washington, DC, in May or June. They will also participate in three or four
subsequent meetings between now and October. CIMI will publicize the
results of this work as it becomes available.

For more information, contact John Perkins, CIMI's Executive Director at
jperkins@fox.nstn.ns.ca or by fax (902)826-1337

* * * * *

Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 17:50:48 -0400
From: David Green <david@cni.org>
Subject: Announcement of NHA Principles

April 24, 1997


** National Humanities Alliance Document Available on NINCH Website **

In an effort to build consensus within the educational community on
the uses of copyrighted works in the digital environment, the National
Humanities Alliance (NHA) has prepared a document of basic principles it
believes can be used as an effective guide for the community for at least
the immediate future.

The document was created by the NHA's Committee on Libraries and
Intellectual Property. Mostly representing institutions within higher
education, the Committee believes that the developed principles apply to a
wider educational community--including primary and secondary schools,
independent research laboratories, faculty and students, and independent

The Principles were derived, with permission, from the University of
California's draft document, "Copyright Legislation and Scholarly
Communication: Basic Principles,"

Printed copies of the Principles will shortly be available from NHA at 21
Dupont Circle, NW, 6th floor, Washington, DC 20036; tel: 202/296-4994.

* * *

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) was created in 1981 to unify public
interest in support of federal programs in the humanities. The Alliance is
composed of scholarly and professional organizations; organizations of
museums, libraries, historical socieities, higher education and state
humanities councils; university and independent centers for scholarship and
other organizations concerned with national humanities policies. The
Alliance is strictly nonpartisan.

* * *